DEAR KEITH

Sotheby’s NY to Present DEAR KEITH an Online Auction of Works from Keith Haring.

Dear Keith will present 140+ works of art and objects from Haring’s personal collection, all on offer from the Keith Haring Foundation – an organization established by the artist shortly before his death in 1990 from HIV/AIDS-related causes. Haring’s collection features works gifted to, purchased by and traded with Haring among friends and artists in his community, including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kenny Scharf, and many more.

All of the works will appear at auction this fall for the first time, together revealing never-before-told stories about Haring’s community and bringing to life the celebrated art scene of 1970s and 80s New York – from the School of Visual Arts (SVA) and Club 57 to street art and beyond.

In keeping with the Keith Haring Foundation’s mission to sustain and expand the artist’s legacy of philanthropy, full proceeds from the auction will benefit The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center of New York (also known as The Center) – an organization that empowers the queer community of New York to lead healthy, successful lives; celebrates the community’s diversity and advocates for justice and opportunity.

During his 10+ years living and working in downtown Manhattan, Haring was engaged in the queer / downtown art and activism scene. He executed one of his final large-scale murals, Once Upon a Time, in the second-floor men’s bathroom at The Center in May 1989 for The Center Show – a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots that featured works by LGBTQ artists commissioned by The Center. That mural stands to this day. Haring was devoted to all of his communities, from his family and friends to collaborators both in art and activism, and the Foundation is pleased to celebrate the enduring connection he had with The Center through this gift.

Dear Keith: Works from the Personal Collection of Keith Haring will be on view in Sotheby’s York Avenue galleries from 26 – 30 September. Works carry estimates starting at $100, and works with low estimates under $10,000 will be offered without reserve, presenting collecting opportunities at all levels.

Harrison Tenzer, Head of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art Online Sales in New York, said: “Dear Keith spotlights the diverse community of artists whose unique visions inspired Keith throughout his life. The collection is remarkably autobiographical, just as any great collector’s estate is a window into their individual perspective. We see the progression of Keith’s life captured in these works, from those of his childhood friend Kermit Oswald, to SVA peers John Sex and Kenny Scharf, to fellow upstart Jean-Michel Basquiat, to graffiti writers Futura 2000 and Lee Quiñones, to his heroes Andy Warhol, Pierre Alechinsky and William Burroughs, who he collaborated with during his meteoric rise to fame. Together they illuminate a culturally fertile era in which artists and activists worked closely together to create a world that was more inclusive than the one they were born into. I am deeply honored that the Keith Haring Foundation has entrusted Sotheby’s with this momentous opportunity to celebrate Keith’s continuing legacy, and I am proud that the sale will benefit The Center’s important work.”

The auction includes a number of such works, including an Untitled portrait of Haring with Juan DuBose – a DJ as well as Haring’s partner and lover, who passed away due to HIV/AIDS in 1988 (pictured right, estimate $200/250,000). Haring and DuBose had a passionate on-and-off relationship for five years that was predominantly driven by physical attraction.

The sale features a significant group of works by artists associated with Club 57 – the night club located in a church basement in New York’s East Village that quickly became one of the most influential centers of the city’s countercultural movement when it opened its doors in 1978. Works by Jean-Michel Basquiat (pictured left: Basquiat, ‘Untitled’, estimate $100/150,000), Tseng Kwong Chi, Stefano Castronovo, Samantha McEwen, Kermit Oswald, Kenny Scharf, Bruno Schmidt and John Sex bear witness to a definitive downtown scene fueled by low rents, opposition to the Reagan administration, and the desire to experiment with new modes of art, performance, fashion, music, and exhibition.

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